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A New Method for Upset Prediction: ATP-based Biomonitoring and Statistical Process Analysis at Two Refinery Wastewater Plants

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Biological wastewater treatment processes are notoriously unstable when used in a variety of industries, but none more so than the chemical and refining industries. This is primarily due to frequent release of toxic substances into wastewater by manufacturing operations. Operators of these downstream wastewater treatment facilities would benefit from reliable and fast information on the quantity and quality of biomass contained in their process. In this study, a new Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) monitoring tool was used to survey two separate oil refinery wastewater treatment processes over a period of weeks. The results demonstrate that the chosen ATP-based monitoring tool offered significant advantages over traditional monitoring techniques such as suspended solids and oxygen uptake. ATP-based measurements of active biomass correlated strongly with bio-reactor performance and subsequent effluent quality. Novel means of measuring biomass stress also allowed identification of likely sources of toxicity when faced with multiple upstream possibilities. The results of these studies suggest that ATP-based monitoring is a very useful tool to facilitate an earlier warning of toxicity than currently available and to more quickly arrive at sound conclusions when performing troubleshooting activities.
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Keywords: ATP; activated sludge; adenosine triphosphate; biological monitoring; biomass; biomass stress index; cellular ATP; correlation; early warning; toxicity; upset; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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